GCC food content during COVID-19, Ramadan 2019 and 2020

21st June 2020

Everyone knows the importance of Ramadan in the culture. It’s also an important commercial occasion,  pushing demand for certain goods, integral to the G.C.C’s economic cycle. The food sector is no exception and is, usually, the high point of the year.

That said, after lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was speculation that there would be a downturn in activity after peaks during COVID-19. Perceptions were that sentiment was at an all time low, as restrictions on wider family visits were in place.

Sila, D/A’s proprietary social intelligence service, focuses on key content creators (influencers) in the region; in studying the Ramadan trends, we began by narrowing data down to around 300,000,000 video views in the Ramadan period alone. 

Before the WK4 April 2020, Digital Ape stated that the G.C.C residents were still looking forward to Ramadan 2020, whilst still being aware of the changes to habits and preferences, we advised brands to utilise these insights as part of our creative strategies.

At a glance, it could be perceived that Ramadan 2020 missed the mark in the food sector with substantial declines year-on-year of video views between 2019 and 2020. However, that said, there were still over 206 million video views and high overall engagements on Instagram.

Ramadan 2020 2019 Engagements Views

Going deeper into the past, we can see the peak periods of Ramadan 2019 and the Back to School where recipes can be seen in news articles and social platforms alike. However, views rose massively in the first week of May after a very slow Q1. Compared to previous years, 2019 was the birth of a huge increase in online food content and engagement as we see the posts increase substantially across Summer ’19:

2019 Food Creators Posts Engagements

Pulling the curtain back to Q4, 2019 and into 2020, we can observe that there was a slight rise around winter. Then, (we all know what comes next) from the second week of March we see a surge when our lives may have changed – somewhat.

As we moved towards Ramadan, after the comparative, (yet annual) slump into Ramadan week 2, (the third week of May) saw the highest views and engagements of the year!

2020 Ramadan COVID-19 Posts Engagements

Overall-yes. Ramadan 2019 did pip Ramadan 2020 to the food content consumption post, but only because there has been a longer, sustained demand in the food sector – online and offline – caused by COVID-19 (and potentially our penchant for cooking at home).

Major food brands should stay in touch with; monthly, weekly, daily, and even minute-by-minute insights that can alter the fortunes of their products’ success in an ever-more competitive market. Only then can creatives, and creators, know true paths to glory in H2 and beyond.

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